Are Redskins, Robert Griffin III teasing themselves?

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There was so many happy speak in a la-la land inhabited by Washington’s football team during a offseason. What a happy new era, with a happy new manager in Jay Gruden and a happy immature quarterback in Robert Griffin III, a happily bolstered defense, and happily revamped special teams. When concerns surfaced, critics were “doubters.” If schemes didn’t furnish in scrimmages or exhibitions, it was since they were so cunningly wrought that a group didn’t wish to give too many away.

Then they played an tangible game, and out popped a group that has been positively teasing itself. A 17-6 detriment to a Houston Texans in a NFL’s Week 1 isn’t a season-definer, of course. But if this robe of creation a shiny, happy best of lousy performances doesn’t stop, it will be. Hit rewind, and listen.

Second-year reserve Bacarri Rambo claimed to be “a whole opposite guy, it’s night and day.” Now, Rambo is a gifted kid, and we wish to trust him when he says he’s worked on his bad office angles and bad tackling. But he looked like a windshield wiper on that 76-yard touchdown accepting by DeAndre Hopkins.

RGIII was presumably a whole new male with a healed knee and a uninformed start. Trust was restored, and he was released from a crippling critique of dismissed manager Mike Shanahan, with leisure to run an innovative new offense. “It’s a quarterback’s dream,” he said. With improvements on a descent line and a merger of swift new weapons, Griffin could finally freshness into a cape-streaming favourite he yearns to be. Gruden raved about Griffin’s progress, and Griffin went over to Gruden’s residence to play a house game. You could many ambience a pablum when they spoke. If things looked reduction than good in training camp, not to worry.

“The routine is going along only as we wanted and hoped, and it’s been great,” Griffin said.

Yet after all a large windup, out crept a discreet rodent of a diversion plan, led by a viscerally clever and during times capricious quarterback who still doesn’t know utterly what he’s about in a pocket. They averaged 6 yards per pass attempt.

Compare a sugarcoated tinge and extraneous certainty in Washington with a disproportion entrance out of a integrate of other struggling franchises with new conduct coaches. You didn’t hear Houston’s Bill O’Brien articulate agreeably about how smashing things were this preseason. He took over a group that was 2-14 final year, and when he mislaid his muster entrance to Arizona by 32-0, he called it “terrible,” and “unacceptable,” and added, “It was bad football.” Over in Minnesota, Mike Zimmer insincere control of a group that won only 5 games final year and lacked leadership, and he didn’t make a Parcheesi friend out of quarterback Matt Cassel. “I’m kind of a high-strung, parsimonious butthole,” he told Fox. Both coaches came divided with hard-nosed victories on Sunday, notwithstanding genuine register deficits.

So it was engaging to discern the spirit of openness and snap in Gruden’s voice after a detriment to a Texans, and to see a newly pursed countenance on his face as if he was nipping on a lemon peel, when he talked about “inexcusable” breakdowns and turnovers and “lack of descent explosion.” You got a feeling that maybe Gruden himself is a small ill from all a sugar. You got a feeling that he was struggling to find a right approach, between publicly safeguarding a eggshell egos of players who suspicion they were improved than this, and fibbing to them, or himself.

“There’s a lot of positives to demeanour at, though when we remove a game, infrequently a negatives will overrule a positives, and that’s something we have to residence right away,” he said.

No volume of fair-minded early-season confidence can wallpaper over a fact that Washington flunked in each phase, solely for a excellent using game. Gifting 8 points on special teams was obvious. Happy talkers will contend a invulnerability showed improvement, though it too faltered during a many vicious juncture, permitting a Texans to work entirely 6 mins 32 seconds off a fourth-quarter clock, and modify on 6 of 8 third downs in a second half. It would be one thing if Peyton Manning did it to them, though this expostulate was led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, a really excellent Harvard male though frequency a many fatal quarterback in a NFL.

“We unsuccessful to get them off a margin during a finish of a game,” Gruden said.

As for a offense, it showed some midgame potency — if you’re personification checkers. Griffin was accurate, completing 29 of 37 passes for 267 yards, though they were mostly on brief passes left or right. “Baby steps” my co-worker Jason Reid labeled them, that left a sense that possibly Gruden doesn’t utterly trust Griffin, or Griffin doesn’t trust himself. Bottom line, they are hamstrung by a quarterback who inarguably has mass in him, though doesn’t nonetheless have good margin awareness. At a start of Griffin’s third season, it’s a unsatisfactory fact that his coaches are still holding things out of a diversion devise to accommodate him, rather than putting things in. They are still articulate about “building blocks.”

Griffin did a good pursuit of shouldering censure in a postgame, saying, “I have to play better.” But there was still that bent to pacify things up, to put a soothing concentration on upsetting reality. His take on a missed low event to Andre Roberts, saying him so late a locate was done out of bounds: “It was this close.” No, it wasn’t: Roberts was open 20 yards earlier.

“You can take a good,” Griffin also said. “Stats don’t win we games, though if we demeanour during a sum yards, time of possession, a volume of initial downs we were getting, it was building adult to where we would consider we had 28, 35 points.”

Now that is only needy ego candy. It minimizes 3 sacks, conscious grounding, 3 loyal punts in a initial quarter, and a rally-killing fail on a 11-yard line in a third period, a play “we work on in use each day,” as Gruden pronounced irritably. Most critically, it ignores that they went only 3 of 12 on third downs.

It’s healthy to see a potion half full; it’s another thing to deposit in self-deception. That’s a wily change for a shining immature quarterback, and a splendid new conduct manager perplexing to give a uninformed start to a group that’s been final in a NFC East 3 of a final 4 seasons, and is famous for house intrigues. We all need to tell ourselves a towering of enlivening lies to get by a week in formidable professions, and that contingency be generally loyal of players in a joining that final so many of their bodies and minds. As John C. Maxwell says, “Man does not live on bread alone; infrequently he needs a small buttering up.”

Self-esteem is great; illusion is not. How do we tell a difference? When things get tough or stressful, a latter tilts into defensiveness and posturing, and an classification goes from audacity to panic with zero in between. Gruden would do good to commend that if a singular repeated trend has mired this authorization in incessant disappointment, it’s a bent to sell fake hope.

For some-more by Sally Jenkins, revisit washingtonpost.com/jenkins.

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